Lens-Artists Challenge #188: A Special Place

Oh my, how do you choose your special place and why is it special? Karina of Murtagh’s Meadows is asking just that.

After thinking and thinking I realized a place that is so special to me that I want to return. Disneyland! Yes, Disneyland!! I just love that retreat into a world of fantasy and wonder. I even did a speech at my Toastmasters club on it. Let’s go back to the beginning of my fascination with Disneyland.

My introduction to this fantasy world was at age 15 1/2 in 1959. Mom and I had just moved to Los Angeles from the Bronx, NY. My aunt took me and my cousins to see this magical place. Now, just imagine my world had just been a few square blocks in the Bronx. I had no idea of what was beyond. We did get to the Bronx Zoo and Botanical Gardens but that was about it. If Los Angeles gave me culture shock, just imagine what Disneyland did!

At that time, it was still new and much smaller, but I was on overwhelm and was hooked. As a mother, I took my boys out of school once a year to have fun at Disneyland. We got there when the park opened and left when they closed the gates.

My love for the park never changed. One sweet memory was when Richard and I went on our own in 2006–no kids. I had to see Mickey Mouse. My collection of Mickeys is a story for another blog. We stood on line outside Mickey’s house in Toon Town with all the other parents and kids. After what seemed forever, we got to Mickey. “Where’s the kid?” His helper called out. “Here I am,” I yelled. This is the result.

Later that year, I went to the park again with my oldest daughter-in-law and grandkids. This time we stayed at one of the Disney hotels. No waiting on line to have my picture taken with Mickey.

In 2010 my friends Sandy, Gloria and I went to Disneyland. It was a 2-day stay which was long enough for us. My interest in photography hadn’t taken hold yet but I did get one reflection with my point and shoot.

Now for the trip of a lifetime for a Disney fan–six days at Disney World in Orlando. In 2014, our kids were attending a trade show in Orlando for the family company. With Richard retired, he and I entertained the grandkids once the trade show started. I was armed with my D3100 and enjoyed taking pictures of the grands. It was a long time since I saw a Disney park through a child’s eyes.

While Disney World was unforgettable, Disneyland is still my favorite. I keep talking about going back, but I also keep getting older. The park is also getting more expensive! But, whether I get back there or not, Disneyland will always be my special place.

Thank you Karina for bringing me back at least in spirit. When you tell us about your special place, remember to link to Karina’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. Next week Tina takes the lead with her Odds and Ends challenge.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us: https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

In search of red buds: U.C. Davis Arboretum

Sometimes the spirit is more willing than Mother Nature wants to give us. Recently Laura and I went to the U.C. Davis Arboretum, in Davis, to photograph the red buds and the wildlife it attracts. Yes, our spirits were willing to take the images, but there were hardly any red buds and birds. We did find some.

I’m guessing there might be more now. But we did find some nice scenery. I had my 55 – 200 mm lens on my Fujifilm XT3 so I did a lot of stepping back for some of these landscape shots.

We did come across a group of cormorants sitting on the shore of the creek. I focused on this one.

And, I couldn’t resist photographing flowers and more in close up.

When I needed to rest, Laura went further while I sat on a bench and people (and dog) watched.

So, our red bud search gave us a beautiful walk and a lot of photo opportunities even if we didn’t see many red buds on the trees.

Lens-Artists Challenge #187: Water

Just think about the photographs you’ve reviewed lately. I bet a lot of them include either a foreground or background of water. Water enhances our photos, adding impact. Photographing it is also fun and sometimes a challenge.  My dear friend Jean, who passed away recently, loved to photograph anything water. In fact, many outings were diverted because she saw a sign saying there was a lake or other water nearby. This was taken on one of Jean’s detours.

The San Francisco Bay near Port Costa.

Water is featured in many landscapes.  This ocean picture was taken in Pacific Grove.

This Folsom Lake image was taken before the drought hit last year. The sailboat is the focus, and the water gives it location.

Bridges usually go over water and in Sacramento County we have many that help us get to the other side of the rivers. I took this one recently of the Rainbow Bridge, a Folsom landmark, and the American river. Reflections in the water add a certain dynamic.

Water can also be the focus of our pictures. Waterfalls, from the great Niagara Falls (the American and Bridal Veil falls), to the small falls at our local Dry Creek are focus points. At Dry Creek, I was handholding the camera and trying to show water as silky by slowing down the shutter speed. I’ve yet to master that because I don’t often carry my tripod! One day I will get up early, plant myself at the ocean, put on my neutral density filter and photograph beautiful waves as they hit the rocky shoreline.

Here’s another handheld close-up image of water coming out of a pipe. This just shows that water of any kind can be fun to shoot. Next is a macro image of a water drop on a leaf. I had a lot of fun taking that one. Finally, the last of this trio shows simple drops of water on lotus pads.

Oh, the last bit of water I’ve had fun with is the snow. Fortunately, here in Sacramento we don’t live with the snow, but we can visit it. Here’s an image of a home in Blue Canyon one hour up the interstate. The second image is of icicles (And their reflection in a window) on a cabin at Donner Lake which is 1 ½ hours away.

I’ll end my show and tell here, but what water fun have you had? Please show us your water fun and tell us about it. Go through your archives and retrieve some memories or find new liquid delights to photograph this week. We’re anxious to see your images. Please remember to use the Lens-Artists tag and to link to this post.

Thank you for participating in Sophia’s challenge of “Low Light” last week. Next week we are pleased to have Karina of Murtagh’s Meadow as our guest host. I wonder what she has in store for us.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, we have easy to follow instructions. Just click this link and join us:

https://photobyjohnbo.wordpress.com/about-lens-artists/

 

Sleepless in Sacramento: In and around Grass Valley

Actually, it’s not that I’m sleepless, I can’t sleep because of a sore throat. It’s not Covid, the rapid home test came out negative, and I have a yearly doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Great timing! So, let me use this time to tell you about a recent adventure around Grass Valley in Nevada County.

We sometimes take off without a definite destination in mind as we did recently. We headed toward Grass Valley. Some stops along the way yielded fungi, a pine cone, a not so scary scarecrow and a scenic pond.

The real exciting find happened after lunch. We found the Bridgeport Covered Bridge! Constructed in 1892, this bridge had undergone renovations and reopened in November 2021 to pedestrian traffic. It crosses over the South Yuba River.

The South Yuba River.

We visited the visitors’ center and saw the old Shell station which added atmosphere to the park.

I’ll say goodnight and hope that I can sleep tight!

Lens-Artists Challenge #186: Low Light

I like standard time during the winter months because it means the sun sets early making photographing in the dark more feasible, getting me home early in the evening. Thank you Sofia for offering this challenge that fits perfectly with a recent visit to Old Sacramento.

My small group of senior photographers visited the waterfront last month to capture the new Ferris Wheel installed as an attraction to draw more visitors.

When we arrived, we came upon a guy break dancing. He kept on performing as darkness fell and his jar filled with dollar bills.

We then walked out on the Tower Bridge (A Sacramento landmark) to capture the Ferris Wheel and waterfront. I’ll be honest, we did not use tripods (which is suggested in low-light photography). As the cars went over the bridge, the resulting rumble would have made the tripods useless.

We then walked back to the waterfront to get a better view of the Ferris wheel.

While we were photographing the wheel, the sun had almost set. I ran to a vantage point and fortunately got a decent sunset and reflections.

Now, back to the bridge for the Ferris wheel in action after nightfall.

As we were walking up to the street, I was lucky to see this image: A restaurant with the Ferris wheel reflected in the window. I couldn’t resist photographing it.

I had so much fun this evening which included a cup of hot chocolate. Low-light photography presents challenges but the rewards are great. I’ve also enjoyed light painting and indoor photography.

Thank you Sofia for this fun challenge that fit perfectly with my photo activities. Please be sure to link your post to Sofia’s, and use the Lens-Artists tag. Next week I’ll be presenting the challenge.

Decisions: Walking Folsom

Sometimes it’s best not to plan. All we knew for this outing was that we would go to the old town area of Folsom. We’ve been there many times before so I was very ambivalent about the outing.

First we wanted to capture the Rainbow Bridge, a Folsom landmark. I’ve photographed it before, but not from the walking bridge next to it. As a special treat, I photographed a fisherman spotted through the archway, two kayakers and a paddle boarder.

Below the walking bridge, I was able to get the American River, the walking bridge and Rainbow Bridge, at different angles.

Next came lunch at our favorite café. I think, for us, that a photo shoot wouldn’t be complete without a good lunch!

After filling our tummies, we spotted a farmers’ market. I just love to photograph vegetables.

And there’s the atmosphere of a farmers’ market where prepared food can be purchased and other crafts can draw you into a booth.

Sometimes a simple basket can be made into a beautiful art piece in post processing using a Photoshop filter.

I think we made some great decisions that morning. Do you?

Lens-Artist Challenge #185: Change

Every day, something changes–whether we want it to or not. In his challenge John asks us to think about change: “Maybe it’s the changes in your family over the years, the change of seasons in your favorite park, or even the change in the technology of your camera equipment. In short, what does “change” mean to you?”

I thought about it, and what came to my mind was how Sacramento has changed since I started photography. First are some of the things we lost.

The first blow to photographers was Daffodil Hill. This beautiful hillside of color and flowers closed last year because of too many visitors. It’s remote location caused the one road in and out to become jammed, and visitors were not staying on the designated paths. Daffodil Hill was owned by the McLaughlin family who planted and cared for their farm. This was their labor of love to be enjoyed by many.

Daffodil Hill

The next thing we lost was the annual Sacramento Music Festival. We worked on and enjoyed the festival for several years. I loved walking from venue to venue, listening to wonderful music. It discontinued because of money loss.

One change that was fought and won was Sacramento City Council’s decision to remove the flowers from the Sacramento Historic Cemetery. The decision was made because when the cemetery was first founded there were no flowers and they wanted to keep it true to its history! The public and the gardeners won. The team of gardeners is volunteer based, and thanks to them we continue to enjoy this amazing place.

Ever changing are the murals that brighten Sacramento each year through Wide Open Walls. We go downtown each year to see what new art adorns the city’s walls.

One of my favorites.

New to Sacramento, specifically Old Sacramento, is the Ferris Wheel along the waterfront. After fixing the wood walkways, the city wanted an attraction to bring families into the Old City.

Last, is a thing we want changed: the homeless. There have been many programs offered to help. Some have succeeded, some haven’t.

Asleep on a sidewalk/curb in Old Sacramento.

Among the venues we hope don’t change is Effie Yeaw Nature Center. This center along the American River is close to us and offers us the nearness to wildlife like deer, coyotes, wild turkeys, etc. I hope this center continues for years to come.

A buck at Effie Yeaw.

So, because change is inevitable, we need to embrace it and continue on. Isn’t it wonderful that we are able to capture things we enjoy on camera before they disappear!

Thank you John for giving us a reason to pause and reflect. Last week Amy helped us to remember our travels and what they have taught us; next week Sophia leads the challenge. Look for her post. Remember to link to her post and use the Lens-Artists tag in WordPress.

Lugging the long lens: Point Reyes National Seashore, part 2

I continue my Point Reyes adventure with Part 2. This area is not just about Tule Elk and Elephant Seals as shown in part 1. Beauty abounds in the grass areas and seashore. For this job, I raised my Fujifilm XT3 up to my eye.

There were also three birds and a coyote that wanted their picture taken.

Before we headed for home, I just had to see how the Point Reyes was getting along. The S.S. Point Reyes is a wooden steamship that crashed on a sand bar in the town of Inverness, Marin County, over a 100 years ago. Surviving having her stern set on fire by photographers light painting with steel wool in 2016, she still remains on the sand bar. Sadly she showed more corrosion in the few years since I last saw her.

This ends my wonderful get away with Laura. It was great to go to the ocean for the day!